Former Western Guilford football coach dead at 65…..

Posted by Andy Durham on July 18, 2008 at 1:57 pm under College, High School | 15 Comments to Read

Bill Hollifield, who was the defensive coach at Western Guilford/Guilford High School for over 30 years died on Wednesday in Robbinsville, N.C. Hollifield was 65 years old, although I spoke with a few WG grads this morning who thought he was 67.

Coach Hollifield was an assistant coach at WG/GHS under Joe Robinson, Doug Henderson, and Charlie Griffin. Hollifield was the defensive coordinator on the Western Guilford 3-A State Championship team in 1977. Hollifield’s specialty was the defensive line and the “O” line. He was an All-American at Guilford College back in the mid-sixties.

Hollifield ranks among the top linemen to ever play for the Guilford College Quakers and was known to warm up before the games by hitting his head up against a telephone pole with helmet on, of course. Everyone who lived in the Guilford College community knew of Bill Hollifield. He was a full-blooded Cherokee Indian and he looked and acted the part. Hollifield was also known for smoking his cigars and in turn blowing the smoke right in your face and if you didn’t like it, his favorite saying was, “My Way or Trailways”.(His other favorite sayig was, “We’ll do it by Hook or Crook”.)

Hollifield also was the head wrestling coach at Western and before that Guilford HS for many years. He came to Guilford High School in the mid-60’s driving a bright red ’66 Mustang. In the classroom Hollifield taught Biology and he also ran a few Physical Education classes.

Mr. Hollifield was a tough character and I still have a few knots on my head to prove it. If you challenged him you were in for a fight and he and I had several, but they were all good because they made both of us tougher in the end.

Bill Hollifield will be laid to rest on Saturday at 2pm at Robbinsville United Methodist Church.

*****Cause of death for Coach Hollifield was a heart attack which he suffered while at the funeral home viewing of his sister, who had just recently passed away. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Bill Hollifield.*****


  • ScottF said,

    Sad news. I have a lot of memories of coach Hollifield, could probably think up 50 funny stories if I had time. He and my father were friends & fellow coaches at Western so I spent a lot time around him. He was a character. My condolences to his wife and daughters.

  • liv said,

    Stunned. I’m stunned. As a former student of WGHS, I can say he will be missed. No one, and I mean no one can train students as hard as coach Hollifield could. Wow. My sympathies to the family.

  • cd said,

    he was a different kind of guy-i think he would do anything to win-a lot of stories about him he was a legend-cd

  • TG said,

    Tragic. We lost a good one.

  • Bill Ahrens said,

    Here’s a link to Coach Hollifield’s obituary.

    http://www.meaningfulfunerals.net/fh/obituaries/obituary.cfm?o_id=247067&fh_id=11649&s_id=93510988B34A637CB5C49B470A257800

  • BMS said,

    Hollifield coached some stellar DBs at Western Guilford: Kenny Pleasants, Weslan Hunter, Danny Troxler.

  • DG Janssen said,

    I just returned from a vacation with some friends from my days at Western. My friends thought each other had told me of Bill’s death last year when they had not. It greatly saddened me.
    I played football and wrestled for Coach Hollifield from 1979 to 1983…and in many ways til this day..I consider him as a second Dad in my life.
    Upon my return from vacation yesterday, I checked the internet and found this posting and the associated obit someone posted (Thank you Bill Ahrens).

    I have found and read many tributes about Bill. Many of which, I agree with whole heartedly. Then I got the awful experience of reading Allred’s post above.
    Attacking this man in this way is about the lowest thing I have ever seen in my entire life. I will not dishonor his legacy by responding to Allred the way I really want to on this page. However, for anyone reading this, I was in the “1” group Allred talks about and I can tell you while he was coaching me those years, there were times I hated him. I was a weak person and athlete as a freshman. By the time I graduated, I was totally different and it was because of Bill Hollifield. He was constantly hard on me- verbally abusive- demeaning in my early years at Western. He was old school through and through. I never quit on him..I kept coming back for more…and over time..as I changed ..my relationship with him did as well. He brought a strength out of me that was not there before. He knew that strength was there before I did and he fought for it to come out ..in his way..until it did.
    I was not a star athlete but I gave it everything I had especially in my last two years.
    Early in my Senior Year, I was severely hurt at the beginning of football camp. Blew a knee out badly. I played 8 games and wrestled 27 mathces before a surgery revealed how much damage had been done. I didnt play football and wrestle that hurt for any other reason other than I couldnt stomach the idea of disappointing Coach Hollifield.

    He was my coach, my friend, my mentor, and in many ways, my second Father.
    I had not seen him in nearly 10 years, but today, as I write this, I so terribly miss him.
    Goodbye Bill. Rest in Peace.

  • Randall Allred said,

    To the Hollifield family, Mr. DG Janssen, http://www.GreensboroSports.com, and anyone else who has read the above postings:

    It is sad that I even have to comment on the posting dated May 1, 2009 which reads “Posted by Randall Allred”. Anyone who knows me at all is well aware that I had nothing to do with those cowardly words written by someone so bitter with their own past. I personally have nothing but fond memories of Coach Hollifield and my time spent at WG. He was well respected by myself and my teammates. Coach was always good for a story or two, not to mention plenty of laughs. I’m sure he was tough on a lot freshmen during his tenure, but we could all use a little more discipline now and then. He will surely be missed by all who had the fortune crossing his path at WG. I know I will!

    Sincerely,

    Randall Allred

  • Bill Cannell said,

    Randall —

    Sorry the anonymous poster chose your name. Makes it even more pathetic.

    All I will say is I was very close to folks who fit the mold and those who didn’t. I know for a FACT that he looked out for folks who didn’t fit his clique.

    Just a shame.

    Loser, I hope you can find another source of healing your wounds.

    Bill Cannell
    Offensive Lineman
    Class of 1983.

  • Ken Shaffer said,

    Hubba-Hubba-Hubba! Sleep well coach, we’ll see you again one day. 🙂

  • Jared Stone said,

    RIP coach hollifield. a great man. -OL 2001

  • Philip Johnson said,

    Coach Hollifield was a great man and coach. It is a shame that some insecure man would get on here and bash a man when he has died. That man probably blames his unsuccessful life on educators and coaches who tried to push him to better his life. I don’t know what his reason is, but that is sad. The late Charlie Griffin and Bill Hollifield along with staff members Coach Mittman, Melton, Stell to name a few were great teachers and coaches from my days at WGHS that played a pivotal role in my life.

    Philip Johnson
    C/0 98′

  • Michael Bondurant said,

    I had not heard of Coach Hollifield’s passing until today, and my condolences to his family. My one favorite memory of Coach Hollifield was right before I got to Western as a freshman. I was in his office one day and he was asking me how my grandparents (who he had stayed with for a short time when he first came to Guilford College) and other family were, and the subject of me coming out for football eventually came up. He tried to build me up about how great football was and how great I would be. I politely stopped him and said “Coach, I wouldn’t give football 100% effort and I know that would be what you would demand, so I think I’ll pass”. He looked at me and said something to the effect that he appreciated my honesty. He certainly treated me no differently than he had before once I turned him down.

    Bill Cannell is right. Coach Hollifield treated everyone the same whether they were on the football team or not. All Coach Hollifeld ever asked for was an honest effort and a little respect. He definitely earned both from me.

    Michael Bondurant
    Class of ’85

  • John Yokley said,

    Wow! This really sucks. I can’t believe I had not know this happened until almost 3 yrs after his death. A little piece of my past died after reading this obit. I have nothing but fond memories of this man and hope his family is proud of the impact and positive influence this great man had on the lives of so many other students. I moved to the mountains in 2005 and would go backpacking in Snowbird area near Robbinsville and kept saying I’d call Coach to see if he wanted to fly-fishing on one of my trips. A shame that I never did and also a shame the last time I saw and spoke to coach was at the viewing of another pivotal influence on my life, Coach Griffin. My condolences to the family.

    Hey Coach, make sure you “knock thier little tee-tee’s into the dirt” when coaching up there……..

    John Yokley
    Class of 1989

  • Chip Smith said,

    I too was caught off guard by the unexpected and untimely death of one of the greatest mentors, gentlemen and souls I have ever had the previledge to meet and spend time with. I was scared to death of Coach Holifield before i ever stepped foot on the Western Guilford campus in 1977 – My father told me stories of this man from his days at Guilford College as an athlete – and how tough this man was so tough he “could eat nails” my dad told me…”he will make damn sure you toughen up if you get to play for him”…..oh my god i thought to myself what in the world will i do when i come face to face with this man – I will come to understand that this man expects you to conduct yourself with pride and class and to understand the meaning and value of self confidence and self discipline, teamwork, hard work pays and many life lessons that I would never have learned if not for Coach Holifield. I cherish the years i spent playing for and working with Bill Holifield. Rest In Peace and enjoy heaven – i hope to see you there someday.

    Chip Smith
    WGHS Class of 81